Professional painters scrape the "popcorn" down, then resurface or re-smooth the ceiling. It is a lot of messy work but if you want to do it, I would go to an established paint store (not a place like Lowe's) and ask for directions and recommendations on products you will need. (07/13/2007)
I don't know if it would work with semi-gloss paint, but we removed the popcorn texture from our kitchen ceiling painted with ceiling paint.
First, you need to clear everything out of the way and put down plastic, as it is messy!
Spray the ceiling with water. You can use a spray bottle, but it's hard on the hands. Or you can buy a NEW pump-style sprayer used to spray insecticides & stuff(get a new one, DON'T use one that has had chemicals in it!). Anyway, you want to get the texture wet, but not dripping wet-experiment, cause if you get it too wet, you'll damage the wallboard on the ceiling when you start scraping.
Then you just scrape the texture off with a paint scraper or the wide kind used to spread wallboard "mud".
After that, wipe the residue off with a damp rag & you are done.
Before you do it, be sure you don't want that stuff up there. The texture covers up the lines that are usually left after they 'tape & mud' the ceiling, it will really show up if you just paint over it. (07/14/2007)
Wat a job. My husband is a painter and he said to make sure that your popcorn does not contain any asbestos before you start to take it down. There is a certain way to do this and dispose of it properly. Usually it is popcorn that has been there for over 30 years. Please call your local Paint store to find out. (07/18/2007)
It's really easy. When we bought our house it was everywhere... so 80's! Just get a spray bottle with hot soapy water and really spray a lot in a certain area. wait a few minutes and start scraping. Then do another area. It is messy and time consuming but it'll work. Don't spend money on products, this work great. Make sure the water is always "hot" and soapy. Good Luck! (07/19/2007)
We have the same problem. The people talking about spraying water on the ceiling don't understand that most popcorn is not painted. It's usually sprayed on an already painted ceiling. Once it's been over painted it's tough to remove. Scrapers don't work. Water doesn't work. I used a hot steamer to break up the paint first. Home Depot has recently been stocking these for paint stripping. I followed this by using a razor scraper like a painter would use to clean paint off glass to separate the paint from the ceiling. It peels the steamed paint popcorn mixture off like peeling an apple. Problem is that now you have a gouged ceiling as its impossible to not dig in with your razor scraper.
Additionally the popcorn was used as an alternative to a good finishing job, meaning your seams will probably show. A lot of people don't know it, but sheet rock begins dropping in thickness closer to the edges. This is to compensate for the taping at the seams. Problem is that your mud job was probably not done thoroughly and this drop in thickness will show upon painting.
You will have to now buy the thinnest drywall skim coat mud possible, trowel it on both the gouges and over the seams For trowing the mud, use the widest disposable mud trowel (about a foot or more wide.) This will bridge the sheet rock where it is beveled. Now buy a sanding pole and sandpaper, then sand off. You may have to repeat this process. Then you can paint! This is unbelievably labor intensive. I did one room and am now looking for an alternative. Good Luck. (02/17/2008)
The issue as to whether yu have asbestos in your ceiling is very important. You don't want to end up with Mesothelioma (first symptoms are inability to spell and then a bad cough) because you ignored it. You can probably see the asbestos in it if you look closely or start calling professionals about this. If you have it you may want to just sheet rock over the cling and have it finished. Also, Armstrong is making some ceiling tiles that look like old stamped ceilings, or even planking that are made to go right over the popcorn. I may go this route myself as the Painted Popcorn seems to have no easy answer. "Cough Cough"
I tried and nothing work. My popcorn ceiling was seal with a oil base ceiling paint. Half came out due to too much moister from shower. The other half wouldn't budge. I don't have asbestos in mine. I ended up painting the other half with staple in the paint. It doesn't look good at all. I'm going to have to sand. Messy messy work. (03/12/2008)
First, put up firring strips and ceiling tile. Fill/smooth seams with joint compound. Then paint etc. I did this 20 years ago over an awful ceiling and it's holding up well and takes repainting well. Or, put up new wall board or panelling. Anything seems easier than wetting and scraping above your head! (01/02/2009)
By Polly G
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